Episode 154 – Dawn Chalker – Writing What You Know

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Dawn Chalker wrote her first novel in fifth grade, finding inspiration from real life. That curiosity, creativity and imagination has continued throughout her life, drawing stories from journeys in nature. The northern Michigan-based writer based her recent novel, Bear Me in Mind, on a real-life encounter with a bear in Alaska and also her love for British detective shows. She also writes children’s books.

In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, host Lynne Golodner interviews Dawn about the joys of writing, the importance of writing what you know, her publishing choices, and how she promotes her books.

In this episode, Lynne and Dawn discuss: 

  • Writing a first novel in fifth grade before YA was a genre
  • Writing as mindfulness
  • Finding inspiration for books and diving into research to build a story
  • Writing what you know and doing research
  • Basing characters on people
  • Finding the best beta readers
  • Respecting the writer and understanding their goals
  • The importance of doing your own book marketing
  • Being more creative when writing by hand

Links and Resources: 

Find Dawn Chalker:



If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll like these other Make Meaning Podcast episodes:

Episode 138 – Sara Bennett Wealer – Connecting with YA Readers

Episode 129 – Rosina Lippi – Author of the Wilderness Series

Episode 122 – Valoree Gagnon & Karena Schmidt – On the Food & Culture of Indigenous Gardens

Episode 105 – Helen Taylor & Gina Nicholas – How to Really Protect the Environment by Being a True Part of it

Episode 49 – Dennis van Englesdorp, Nicole Lindsey & DeAndra LeMelle – Saving the Bees